7 types of successful small businesses you can start today

Library | 7/2/2019


mall businesses are the backbone of our economy and make up 99.9% of all businesses in the United States. That means millions of people have found success in starting their own companies.

At Valley Bank, we see a lot of small business plans. So, we’ve learned a few things about what makes a successful business opportunity. If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur eager to get a business off the ground, we put together a list of 7 areas of opportunity with low-overhead, high-growth, and solid earnings potential.


1.  Take your business to your customers — start a mobile business

Mobile in this case means any business or service that comes to the consumer. Usually operating without permanent locations, they significantly reduce facilities expenses and present an opportunity for increased flexibility for the service provider. These businesses are on the rise as increasingly busy customers are willing to pay a little extra for the speed and convenience of a mobile service.


Ideas for a mobile business:


Pet Groomer — a new take on a classic

Your base service doesn’t have to be revolutionary if you put a creative spin on it. At Valley Bank, we’re always excited to see a fresh take on an old standby. Consider creating a spa experience for people’s pets with lavender aromatherapy and the sounds of nature music playing while Fido gets his nails trimmed. Think about creative add-ons or brand positioning that can put your mobile company in the fast lane to success. 

Stylist — take your cut and color on the road

Customers are busier than ever, and many high-end hairdressers can bring in additional revenue by going mobile. Whether it’s a basic cut or styling hair for a special occasion, a mobile hairdresser brings the service to the client, adding convenience to the customer experience. Consider your target clientele to determine the best opportunities for this venture. You may want to target large urban areas, like Miami and Orlando, or specialize in updos and special occasion styling near beachside wedding venues.


2.  Be part of the Sharing Economy 

With the Sharing Economy in full swing, you can start a business with less overhead and high growth potential as customers further embrace the comfort and convenience of using shared resources.


Ideas for breaking into the Sharing Economy:


Create a new platform by borrowing the business model 

Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb may be some of the most well-known sharing economy businesses. These platforms can be effectively modeled for a small business opportunity with large scale potential. Even these giants started small. Airbnb started modestly when co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia noticed local hotels were completely booked for an upcoming conference. They got a few air beds and rented out space in their home for $80 a night. This soon grew into multinational platform offering nearly 5 million listings and a recent valuation of $31 billion. That’s incentive for you. 

Join an existing platform 

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to profit from the Sharing Economy. These businesses present an excellent opportunity to run your own business as an independent contractor. This may be a great option for those with constraining schedules or additional careers. If you have the resources to participate in an existing platform, go for it. For many, Airbnb has become a great source of additional revenue, bridging the gap for mortgages and supplementing retirement incomes. 


3.  If not the Sharing Economy, why not the Gig Economy

If you have a skill to offer other businesses, consider hiring out your services on a project by project basis. This business model has very low startup costs, particularly if you’re already certified or qualified in your area of expertise. Use word of mouth and client referrals to build a loyal customer base to give yourself the flexibility of being the boss.


Ideas for successful freelance businesses:


Graphic design, bookkeeping, copyediting, and more

For a successful freelance business, consider specialized areas where you can carve out a niche for yourself.These are skilled, single-project ventures like graphic design, bookkeeping, and copyediting. Specialization will help you define your brand and attract key business.


Whether your business is just getting started or well-established, Valley’s Visa Business Credit Card is built to meet the needs of your business. Apply for a business credit card


4.  Start teaching online

High tuitions and evolving education platforms mean that many people are turning to flexible, cost-effective education options. Platforms like YouTube have opened many possibilities for online teaching and additional opportunities for generating income for the right entrepreneur.




Consider this online education idea:


Online tutoring services

From elementary to college students, there’s a vast segment of the population who need tutoring. An online tutoring company is relatively easy to get off the ground with minimal expenses. The most important aspect is building a client base. Consider creative marketing to get the word out, like fun and clever YouTube videos that can provide educational value to viewers and showcase your services.


5.  Americans are prioritizing health — take advantage 

Positively impacting your clients’ physical and mental health can be an incredibly rewarding experience. This opens several opportunities for small business owners to capitalize on this growing trend.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of personal trainers to grow by 10 percent in upcoming years




Ideas for successful wellness businesses:


Personal training

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the employment of personal trainers to grow by 10 percent in upcoming years. For the most growth potential, look for an angle that will differentiate you from your competitors. Whether that’s helping senior citizens or working with bodybuilders (or both!), it can help to target specific customers or programs.

Wellness Coach

For some, the road to a wellness career involves fewer push-ups and more calculations. If this is right up your alley, consider becoming a wellness coach. These professionals offer a range of services including fitness, dietary, and behavioral health screenings to clients. This job requires wearing various hats while working with a range of health professionals. A degree or accredited certification in this field can improve your prospects. If you’re interested in wellness coaching, consider becoming a self-employed practitioner or starting a coaching group in your area. 


6.  Think different — when it comes to food 

Ever dream about opening a restaurant but don’t want to take on the high startup costs? Then consider an alternative food service business. From food prep to inventory management, new and improved resources help effectively manage your small food service business to turn a profit from the low-overhead business models. 




Ideas for successful food businesses:


Catering – the lowest overhead option 

Catering businesses are a great way to show off your culinary creativity with minimal expenses and have a great earnings potential. These companies can be established without permanent locations, significantly reducing overhead costs. With the right setup, catering companies can be started in your home kitchen, or through a per-case rental commercial kitchen. Typical startup expenses can run from $10,000 to $50,000 but you can minimize initial costs by beginning with smaller events and growing as needed.

Food trucks 

Food trucks provide fun, casual dining experiences that are growing in popularity. These trucks offer a more cost-effective solution to traditional brick and mortar restaurants. Easily spread your brand across the city, reaching a large clientele and cutting down on traditional marketing costs. With lower start-up costs, entrepreneurs can afford to take culinary risks. But don’t take a risk with licensing your food truck. Follow local laws to establish a legal and safe business.


7.  Dont fear Amazon if you have an online retail niche

Online stores provide so many benefits for shoppers who are pressed for time or are limited in their local selections. For small business owners that means there are ample opportunities online to sell their goods.

Global eCommerce sales grew 18%25 in 2018 and this trend shows o signs of stopping



Ideas for successful online retail businesses:


Clothing sales – carve your niche

Competing with retail sites like Amazon may be a challenge, but the key is specializing in the right product and creating a memorable brand. Clothing is a great area to specialize in because quality and sizing vary widely in these products. Position your retail business with a potential clientele in mind, perhaps catering to high end fashion, or local, sustainable products. It’s all about the right customer experience.


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